Saint James

Rum 1885 Saint James Martinique

Rhum des Plantations, their oldest. This is the first vintage rhum ever, and it’s a miracle that it survived the eruption of the Montagne Pelée in 1902,

Provenance: Cannes Besch, 12/29/2012

Rum 1885 Saint James Martinique (2787)
Famous Rhum in a square bottle. The oldest, the legendary 1885.
$ 14,699.00

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Some details:

Size 75 cl
Vintage 1885
Alcohol 43.0 %
Bottled 1900
Fill level Mid shoulder
Shape Square bottle


For a spirit made from sugar, rhum has been a favorite concoction of the “old salts” of the world’s navies and merchant fleets for hundreds of years. By happy coincidence for British sailors, England captured Jamaica in 1655, just about the time rhum was first being distilled in the Caribbean. Captains began allotting their shipmates rations of rhum and lime juice. The juice warded off scurvy and the alcohol killed the bacteria that often made the ships’ water supply questionable.

Saint James

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Rhum St James

Rhum St James

The St. James Distillery is the oldest in Martinique and probably also able to produce the largest volumes of Rhum Agricol of the island. It was founded in 1765 by Father Edmund Lefebure, Superior of the Convent of Charity and also a skilled Alchemist / Distiller. As Father Labat had done before him, bring to Martinique a new type of Alambic able to produce rums of incomparable finesse. The first consumers of Rhum St. James were the English settlers settled in the Americas and in fact it is said that the name, anglophone par excellence, was chosen in their homage.



In 1882 the famous "square" bottle was designed which has characterized the entire future history of Rhum St. James, it is said that the choice was dictated by the fact that a bottle of that shape was easily "stackable" to be stored and/or transported by ship, greatly reducing the breakages. In the second half of the nineteenth century, the distillery of Rhum abandoned the old PotStill stills and production started with the new Column stills.



Today at St. James there are 6 in full swing even if a small Pot Still is used for modest amounts of Cour de chouffe. In 1902 the famous eruption of the Mountain Pele brought to its knees the entire production of Rhum Agricol in Martinique and the only Distillery that is saved from the catastrophe.